I’m a dad. And I love being a dad… but it’s scary.
This past week has been a weird one at our house. My oldest daughter was in Guatemala on a mission trip, my second daughter was away at youth camp, and my youngest daughter spent a few nights at Grandma’s house. So, if you don’t know me personally, now you know that I have three daughters. Yep, I live in an estrogen palace.
The week was weird because it was extremely quiet. And calm. My wife and I got to experience one glorious date night when all three girls were off in different places. Woohoo!! Then our youngest came back home from Grandma’s, and we got to spend some quality time with just her. It was great!
But this small amount of quiet gave me some time to ponder fatherhood.
Since the day we found out we were going to have a baby, I’ve been excited about being a dad. Of course, the thought of being in charge of a helpless human being terrified me. I can vividly remember Cindy and I walking out of the hospital with our daughter and thinking, “You’re really sending us home with this child?!” On the drive home I was extra cautious, and there was one point that I pulled over so Cindy could move to the back seat with the car seat and make sure the baby was still breathing. There are so many parts of parenthood that are scary. But I guess I’ve always trusted that as my children grew, I would grow, too, and I would learn how to handle each circumstance and situation.
One of the verses that gets quoted around our house a lot is Ephesians 6:4 - “Fathers, do not exasperate your children.” “How can this be?!” you may ask. Surely I am the stoic example of an always loving, always wise, father knows best kind of father. Sheepish grin. Ha. Nope. For some reason my humor often gets eye rolls, my tickling sometimes gets too rough, and my comments about fashion sometimes bring tears. I make wrong decisions and have to ask forgiveness. Often.
Other times I get it right, and I can almost sense my heavenly Father giving me a big thumbs up.
The rest of Ephesians 6:4 is where I really want to get it right, though. The whole verse reads, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (NIV, emphasis added)
It is my solemn prayer that I have done everything in my fatherhood that I possibly could so that my daughters know the Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t just want them to know about him, but to know him, love him, to know what he is about and what he expects; what he has done for them and continues to do; how he wants to be alive in their lives and wants to give them an amazing, abundant life now and forever.
I love being a dad. I love being a dad of girls. I’m proud that I can name almost every Barbie movie. I’m pumped that most of the toys I’ve bought in my lifetime have been pink. And I love all the snuggles, hugs, and kisses. I also love the fact that they laugh the hardest at body noise humor. Job well done.